Machina Arcana is very interesting and successful fantasy game – its Kickstarter campaign gathered over 600% of needed funds already! The graphics, the game play, the additional content – it all makes the game unique. Thus it is not surprising that interview with the game designer is in place – we can get more “behind the scene” information, inspirations for game as well as future plans. All this from the Juraj Bilich, Machina Arcana game designer.
Michal: Please tell us a little about yourself Juraj. What do you do for a living, what games do you play?
Juraj: I’ve been programming since I was a little kid (Commodore 64 fans unite!) so I’ve been drilled in the aspects of designing mathematical systems from the early age.
The last position I had was being a senior software engineer working at Facebook in Dublin, Ireland. It was an awesome experience but we’ve got our second baby so we decided for our long-term plans that it would be better to return back to Croatia.
When I was younger I mostly played video games, RPGs like Baldur’s Gate, Morrowind, and Fallout. In the university there was a little bit of D&D, Magic The Gathering, and a couple of board games, most namely Arkham Horror.
Michal: Now, as for the game, what inspired “Machina Arcana”?
Juraj: Well considering I am a fan of horror (comics, books, and movies), Arkham Horror (board game), and games in general, I would say that all of these interests somehow converged into this idea to focus my creativity into something that in the end I wanted to play.
Michal: What are the key components of the game?
Juraj: The game is played on modular map tiles with different layouts. There are explorers (controlled by players), and monsters (either controlled by a simple AI, or by players of dead explorers).
The explorers are able to use items: weapons, artifacts, apparel and consumables.
There are a number of different incidents that are happening in the game: either beneficial (played by explorers), and had ones (played by the Horror itself).
It is a story driven given game, which means that in order to win the game, you will need to progress through the chapters of the chosen scenario.
Michal: Can you elaborate a little about the game mechanics?
Juraj: Once you start the game you will choose on of the available scenarios. You will need to play cooperatively in order to utilize the map tile, and once you progress through all of the chapters you will be presented with an end-game. It is a special mini-game at the end of each scenario, with usually each own special map tile.
Michal: How do players determine victory?
Juraj: If they succeed with the end-game – they are victorious. If any of the explorers die, that controlling player will in turn control the monsters – making the game extra hard, and it usually means explorers have just a couple of turns before they are overrun by the forces of Darkness.
Michal: Now, as for ” Machina Arcana” itself, what makes this game unique?
Juraj: The inventory mechanics have that steampunk flavor and it enables you to upgrade, equip and even augment your items – making for some pretty interesting combinations.
The immersive aspect is very important, and each card is full with the narrations and fluff, but in the end you can ignore it all and just focus on the tactical side.
The map gives you a number of options when you need to deal with monsters: you can use exploding barrels, traps, close doors and even push or pull monsters into pits.
Michal: Regarding Kickstarter campaign itself – what did you learn and what advice you can give to anybody looking into running Kickstarter campaign?
Juraj: The passion and ideas are not enough: you need obsession in order to see things through.
Besides being ready to sacrifice a lot, you need to go out and present the game to the public, and start building your community long before you decide to start the campaign.
Michal: What are the future plans for you? Any new designs / games in preparation?
Juraj: There is a plan to continue publishing different games through my company Adreama Games. Besides the possible custom variants for Machina Arcana, I am currently working on another game, but for now let’s only say that the game is still in its proto-version. Stay tuned. 😉
Once again I encourage you to visit the campaign page and support the game!